Local Atmosphere

Valparaiso, IN
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4 College Senior

Local Atmosphere: One of the reason I chose this college was for the great little city that it was in. While, it might not be a huge amount of choices there is still fun activities to do like movies, a put-put course in Maryville, and various little shopping centers!

4 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: Valparaiso is a cute little town. There's plenty of little shops and restaurants to go to, not to mention the annual Popcorn Festival. There are a few bars that seem to be pretty popular with the upperclassmen, but I couldn't tell you about those firsthand. If you are really into shopping, the nearest mall is about fifteen minutes away, so unless you have a car it's not the best town for shopping. But there are fun places to go, especially if you have a car. Most of the time we stay on campus though, especially during the winter.

3 College Junior

Local Atmosphere: Our athletics draw in a lot of people from the city and surrounding areas but there isn't much to do off-campus at night or on the weekends. I really like the area and think it is gorgeous, especially with being so close to Lake Michigan and the Indiana Dunes National Park.

3 College Junior

Local Atmosphere: Many great restaurants and opportunities for night life.

3 College Junior

Local Atmosphere: There are places to eat and a movie theater, bowling, a mall about 20 minutes away


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Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Amber Will
Schofield, WI
Political Science and History
View all previous student authors

Valparaiso is not a big city, and it never will be. It is very much like the kind of midwestern town you see in the movies. There is a nice downtown area that has a lot of small coffee shops and specialty stores, however the shopping mall that most students go to is in Merrillville, 20 minutes down the road. Valpo's downtown may only keep you busy for a little while, but visiting some of those shops just once doesn’t do them justice as they beg to have you wander through them again and again. Also, Valpo has quite a few restaurants that are fun to eat at every once in awhile.

In the beginning of the year, the city celebrates the Popcorn Festival in which the streets are closed off so vendors can set up tents everywhere. There is a variety of food and gifts that can be bought, and it is a great way to get to know new people since it is within the first few weeks of school. If there is anything you do not find in Valpo, Merrillville is the next best bet up the road. A little further away is the big city life of Chicago.

Whether by car or by train, it takes a little over an hour to get into the Windy City. Chicago has everything you could possibly think of with sports teams, concerts, theaters, museums, and shopping. Visiting the city never gets old, and many students will go for the day or indulge in a weekend in the city. Union Board offers many events and trips into the city as well. Valpo is the perfect place to have a small town feel while going to school, but the bigger city with more exciting nightlife is not terribly far down the road.

Facts & Statistics

Fun Local Trivia
  1. It's the birthplace of Orville Redenbacher.
  2. Author Don DeLillo wrote a play about a man's trip to the town titled Valparaiso.
  3. It was named after Valparaiso, Chile, by sailors who had served with Captain David Porter, an area native, in the War of 1812.
  4. It is nicknamed "Indiana's Valley of Paradise."
  5. In 1859, what is now Valparaiso University was founded as the Valparaiso Male and Female College, one of the first coed colleges in the country.
Local Slang
  • The Beach: Indiana Dunes
  • The Bypass: Highway 49
  • The City/Downtown: Chicago
  • The Lake: Lake Michigan
  • Pop: Carbonated beverages
  • The Shot: Bryce Drew's game-winning three-point shot at the buzzer of the 1998 NCAA basketball tournament that took the Crusaders to their first-ever Sweet Sixteen appearance. Truly the stuff legends are made of-catch it on ESPN during any NCAA basketball tournamen
  • The Train: South Shore Line commuter train into Chicago
  • Valpo: Slang for Valparaiso
Points of Interest
  • Chicago Street Theater
  • Hoosier Bat Factory
  • Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
  • Memorial Opera House
  • Popcorn Festival
  • Porter County Fair
  • Wizard of Oz Fest
Shopping Centers
  • Downtown Valparaiso
  • Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets
  • Southlake Mall
  • Valparaiso Marketplace
Movie Theaters
49'er Drive-In
675 N. Calumet Ave.
(219) 462-6122
Movie Theaters
AMC Theaters Southlake Mall
2475 Southlake Mall
(219) 738-2652
Movie Theaters
Loews Cineplex
2350 E 79th Ave.
(219) 947-4072
Movie Theaters
Valparaiso County Seat 6
2849 Calumet Bell Park
(219) 548-8788
Major Sports Teams
  • Chicago Bears: NFL
  • Chicago Blackhawks: NHL
  • Chicago Bulls: NBA
  • Chicago Cubs: MLB
  • Chicago Fire: Soccer
  • Chicago Rush: Arena football
  • Chicago Storm: Indoor soccer
  • Chicago White Sox: MLB
  • Chicago Wolves: Hockey
  • Gary Railcats: Baseball
  • Gary Steelheads: Basketball
Distances to Nearest Major Cities
  • Chicago: IL: 1 hour
  • Indianapolis: IN: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Student Polls

Rate the local atmosphere on the following topics    Based on 49 responses

Very poor
  • Cost of living
  • Dining
  • Friendliness of locals toward students
  • Museums/cultural attractions
  • Nightlife
  • Parking
  • Parks and recreation
  • Professional sports
  • Safety
  • Scenery
  • Shopping
  • Transportation

What is the local atmosphere like at your school?    Based on 48 responses

  • 6% Painfully remote.
  • 17% In or near a big city, but there's not much to do off campus.
  • 48% Small town with plenty of charm.
  • 29% Vibrant college town. There's no big city, but there are plenty of things to do off campus.
  • 0% City living at its finest. There's always something fun and interesting going on.

What is the proximity to other universities? Is there much interaction?    Based on 46 responses

  • 54% There aren't any nearby schools.
  • 33% There are nearby schools, but students do NOT interact much.
  • 13% There are nearby schools that students often interact with.

Can you see yourself living here after graduation?    Based on 49 responses

  • 39% No way.
  • 53% Maybe, if I could find a good job.
  • 8% Totally.


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